Any science teacher knows that a lot of the real learning students do is in the lab. Getting hands-on experience with the concepts they learn in the classroom is the best way to help students internalize their knowledge. For teachers and professors to do their jobs safely and effectively, they need the right equipment in their labs.
1. Room Setup
You can’t set up a lab appropriately in just any room. If your school or university only has a small room available, you can make it work, provided that it has proper ventilation. You’ll need at least one sink for washing equipment, a bio-safety cabinet for storing any sensitive materials, and proper electrical wiring throughout the room. Any surfaces used in the lab have to be resistant to any chemicals you’ll be using for experiments.
In any lab, whether you’re teaching middle school Biology or college-level Biochemistry, there’s the possibility of dangerous accidents. You’re allowing non-experts to use chemicals and perform experiments with only a certain level of supervision. Fire extinguishers are essential, as well as an eye-washing station and receptacles for bio-hazardous waste. Every experiment you perform in the lab will bring its own specific dangers, so it’s important to be aware of them ahead of time and prepare.
To perform your experiments, it’s important to have the right equipment on hand. Whether you’re dealing with beakers or high speed ceramic bearings, getting together what you need before the school year begins will prevent big setbacks in your schedule.
For instance, not every lab is going to be performing centrifuge, but if you’re planning to that’s a big piece of equipment that will have to be purchased way ahead of time. Most lab equipment will also be available in both plastic and glass, so you should decide which material will best serve your purposes. Generally, teachers with young students prefer plastic due to the possibility of students dropping the beakers and bottles.
To furnish your lab correctly, you’re going to need more than just a few fold-out tables and chairs. Labs generally need worktables made of stainless steel, high stools so students can see what they’re doing, solid shelving, and stainless steel sinks. You may also need fume hoods or acid safety cabinets, depending on the types of experiments are planned.
This checklist is by no means exhaustive. But hopefully, it helps you think through what your lab will need for the next year.